The corporate learning market has exploded in recent times, and Josh Bersin says there are a number of ways organisations can take advantage of current market opportunities to get their learning solutions up-to-speed and maximise subsequent ROI
I’ve been covering the corporate learning market since around 1978 (before the term “e-learning” even existed) and I now believe this market is as hot, innovative, and important as I have ever seen it. Let me just give you a few signposts to think about, and then a few tips for modernising your learning solutions this year.
1. The demand for learning is everywhere. CEOs, CHROs, and CLOs are all focused on reskilling, reinventing career paths, and providing employee-centric learning solutions. As I mentioned in last month’s column, the global economy is growing, unemployment is low, and we are all competing for a new set of skills.
2. Artificial intelligence, robotics, and new work environments are changing the skills we need to compete. All our research (and research from other organisations) shows an increased focus on soft skills as well as digital skills, the need to reinvigorate management in a more agile way, and the need to give every employee at every level a level of digital fluency they need to be productive.
3. The corporate learning marketplace is now flooded with exciting, new, well-engineered solutions. As I’ve written about in the article Disruption of Corporate Learning: Ten Trends, the learning experience platform market is now growing at 100 per cent per year or more, the market for micro-learning tools is explosive, and new content offerings are coming to market in almost every industry.
4. The traditional, somewhat old-fashioned LMS market is being reinvented. Nearly every LMS vendor has started to redesign their user experience and a new set of LMS players are now delivering solutions that bring together micro-learning, traditional program management, and advanced AI. If you haven’t gone out and done an RFP for LMS, now is the time.
“The global economy is growing, unemployment is low, and we are all competing for a new set of skills”
5. The X-API (a standard that lets you now track every possible learning activity) is now operational and you can buy “learning record store” products that capture all this data. So, you can finally measure your learning experiences at work like never before.
Corporate learning solution trends
This all said, I know very well that most of you have older learning platforms, lots of legacy content, and tools and skills that feel out of date. I just attended two large CLO events and what I discovered is that even some of the biggest, most conservative companies are now experimenting with new solutions.
One company, a large telecommunications provider in Europe, has now implemented agile throughout their L&D organisation, and they are developing prototypes, sprints, and rapid development programs faster than ever. The CLO told me it has been a total success.
A large global energy company has now created an entire virtual world to teach its employees (engineers, sales, marketing, and others) everything they want to know about geology and the exploration of energy. I used to work in the energy industry (I spent two years in a refinery) and I was spellbound – I couldn’t stop watching it.
One of the world’s largest retailers is now using adaptive learning to give operations employees small bites of safety training every day and has seen a 35 per cent reduction in accidents. The same company is using virtual reality tools to train retail workers how to manage heavy traffic in the stores, and the cost is lower than it used to cost for traditional e-learning.
One of the world’s largest ride-sharing companies now trains its drivers with AI-driven “reading cards” that pop up and deliver targeted learning solutions on their phones, between rides or before work.
“People have less time than ever and you can get great value from smaller learning solutions”
5 steps for taking advantage of corporate learning solution opportunities
What should you do to take advantage of this time of opportunity? Here are five tips:
1. Look at the new learning experience platforms on the market (there are many listed in the article above). Consider bringing one in to sit on top of your LMS.
2. Revisit your LMS investment. It may be time to shop around for an upgrade or new vendor.
3. Experiment with agile content development, and don’t be afraid to build micro-learning modules. People have less time than ever and you can get great value from smaller learning solutions.
4. Talk with some of the small, innovative, local content developers in your area. There are experts who can build and deliver these new ideas in the market now, and I bet you have some in your local area.
5. Right now, as the job market gets tighter, people will see learning as more than a productivity-enhancing tool – it’s a “reason to come to work” for many people. So, push learning into your culture, make sure your executives understand the growth mindset, and evangelise learning in your company.
According to Bersin’s proprietary data, the L&D marketplace is over US$140 billion around the world, and it’s growing at near double-digit rates this year. Don’t be left out, this is the time to join the party.
Image source: iStock